Advanced Yoga Practices
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Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 273 - Importance of Cultivating Inner Silence  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
273.1 - The Difference between AYP Yoga and Kriya Yoga

From: Yogani
Date: Fri Aug 12, 2005  4:43 pm

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"

Q: I wanted to write to you and tell you of my on going research into traditional yogic practices.

I have been working with the Kriya yoga tradition in its varying forms for a number of years, and as you know it is virtually identical to the methods you espouse, except for minor variations. Originally, I started off using a methodology in which celestial prana was brought in through the crown of the head from the upper chakras and Divine Consciousness and directed down sushumna to the Kanda at the base of the spine on the in breath, it was held for a short time while the mantra Om Mani Padme Aum was chanted; then on the out breath, it was brought back up to the centre of the head, held and the same mantra was used. The whole process was done while practicing alternative nostril breathing. Twelve to eighteen basic kriyas were performed, then one went into meditation upon the Sound Current in the centre of the head, with Aum being chanted on the out breath for about one hour, some times more.

As a result of such a practice, profound bliss and spiritual states that were preliminary to Samadhi were experienced; these practices took place in an environment of profound celibacy and life force control in which my attention remained rooted within Divine Consciousness, resting in Bliss Consciousness. I must say, that my life at that time was one of profound joy and bliss, rising ecstasy and conductivity was on going, all of my faculties, intellectual, intuitive, physical, were enhanced.

Of course, I got greedy, my ego whispered in the background that there must be even more effective methods, that I was missing out! Ha ha, typical of the ego! All the while, direct intuitive awareness of Divine Consciousness allowed me to see the folly of such a fear based loop, and I saw that I had all that I needed, and just needed to continue with what I was doing.

Yet in time, distractions took place, and I fell out of my heightened union and eventually eroded my vibration and began to attune to the whispers of lower mind, of striving from the level of ego to look for more effective methods, as if there is some magic secret.

So I went on to practice so many different methods, spending countless hours researching and spending thousands of dollars over the years. More recently, I have been working with the methods you teach (root to brow) but with positive retention (retain inhalation on the in breath) while none on the out breath. For the reasons you ascribe, heightened pranic flow, but with no alternate nostril breathing. Apparently, more than I could handle. Then I decided to work in the same way but with the crown. The psychic congestion and detox were more heightened and exaggerated than with just the brow.

The result was a heaviness, and unhappiness that I could not shake; it was like I was cut off from Bliss Consciousness and could not rest in our intrinsic joy.

I have recently dropped positive Kumbhaka and have moved on to deep neutral retention (three second retention on both the in and the outer breath) while spinal breathing. I speculate that this has the same heightening effect of pranic flow, but the breath is balanced, hence the psychic consciousness is balanced also. I practiced this a few days ago with alternative nostril breathing and within two breaths the heavy energy and low affect (emotional state) had lifted and I was able to brake through into the inner lightness of contact (resting) within Bliss Consciousness. I now speculate deep neutral breathing in combination with alternate nostril breathing (known to balance Ida and Pingala and ones psychic consciousness and energetic bodies) maybe the most effective way of handling a heightened flow of energetic forces flowing through our various metaphysical anatomies!

Would you please comment and give your advice?

There is one other thing I would like to get you advice on! I, in conjunction with my spiritual practice, I have been attempting to work with my partner in Tantric practices. In retaining my seed, and avoiding ejaculation, I am finding it difficult, with time to build stamina. What seems to be happening, is over time an increased sensitivity accrues due to non-ejaculation.

I feel perhaps, I am not transmuting and lifting the sexual energies effectively enough, thus a damming effect energetically, resulting in heightened sensitivity which is just exponential due to no release or ineffective redirection. I suspect with my new solo practices, my ability to transmute and redirect maybe re-established, as I have noticed in the past (a couple of years ago) it was profound, so much so, tuning into the sexual state needed to be a conscious decision. Could you make any suggestions, do you have any further methods that may help that remain unpublished? With my sexual practices, I am attempting to move beyond the need of ejaculation and into profound spiritual states just like in meditation. Unfortunately, my current methods are not working. Many thanks for your assistance and service to humanity!

A: Yes, there are similarities between kriya yoga and AYP, particularly in the core principles and practices for awakening ecstatic conductivity in a balanced way. Keep in mind that we make a distinction in AYP between awakening ecstatic conductivity and cultivating inner silence -- pure bliss consciousness. For the latter, we use deep meditation, which does not come from kriya yoga, but from mantra yoga. This is a huge difference between AYP and kriya yoga.

While traditional kriya yoga uses mantras in spinal breathing, AYP does not, switching the meditation process to be with a single mantra ("I AM") in a separate practice done right after spinal breathing. In this way ecstatic conductivity and inner silence are cultivated separately, which is appropriate because it is not possible to fully cultivate both at the same time! So we have departed far from kriya yoga in that one stroke, and the results are quite different.

As you know, other aspects of AYP come from still other ancient traditions of yoga, so AYP cannot be called (nor does it claim to be) kriya yoga, mantra yoga, or any other singular approach. It is a systematic integration of multiple yogic methods.

You did not mention separate session deep meditation in the description of your practices, and the experiences you mention seem to indicate it is not there. When cultivated correctly in deep meditation, inner silence is not an experience that comes and goes like so many inner energy experiences do. Inner silence, rather than being a "high" experience, is an "underneath" experience -- under all the rest of whatever we may experience in life. Inner silence is unending stillness in the nervous system -- behind mind, body and emotions. So if we truly have been cultivating inner silence in deep meditation, then when the hurricanes of inner energy come, there will be a foundation in our awareness that is unmoved by all that. This also includes the currents that we call "ego" which we no longer will see as our primary sense of self as inner silence comes up within us. Rather, what happens is, over time, our inner silence gradually comes out to inhabit all the energy movements, including the ego current. This is the joining of inner silence and ecstatic conductivity, which yields a stable enlightenment that is unshakable, ecstatic and ever moving outward in waves of divine love.

While it appears you have done a lot with pranayama, perhaps you should take a look at adding deep meditation as a separate practice to cover the inner silence cultivation aspect.

Also, on the pranayama side, as you will know from reading the lessons on "crown opening" (see the topic index on the website for these), in AYP we do not encourage practices at the crown in the beginning and intermediate stages of our yoga journey. Your experiences of resulting instability from crown practices are common -- there have been many others who have come to AYP to verify the hazards of beginning at the crown. It just does not work for stable long-term growth. This is why all AYP pranayama practices are root to third eye. It is only at the very end that direct opening the crown is discussed, and then with reservations. The crown is opened "by proxy" with all of the AYP pranayama practices in a safe and progressive way, so the need for direct practice at the crown is all but eliminated. This is certainly the case in the beginning and intermediate stages. Even advanced practitioners should take note of the "big red flag" that AYP raises on direct practices at the crown.

So, bottom line -- It appears you have not been enough into deep meditation, too much into direct crown practices (I recommend "none"), and perhaps have been muddying up your spinal breathing with too many other things, including premature kumbhaka, which can only make more mess if piled in there too soon. In the AYP lessons, all of this is laid out more or less sequentially in the series practices, with strong emphasis on "self-pacing" when ramping up on a practice or taking on a new practice. It all takes time -- a step-by-step buildup over many months and years, with temporary slow- downs in practices as necessary during peak purification periods, which we all will experience from time to time.

On the tantra side, the "sensitivity" you describe becomes an inward- going process as we progress with sitting practices and engage in holdback and blocking in tantric practice. This too takes time. It is not a process that can be completed overnight by power of will. It is no coincidence that our progress in tantra depends very much on our progress in sitting practices. Getting sitting practices such as deep meditation and spinal breathing in the right balance will do wonders for tantra -- it does not work so well going the other way. Again, inner silence cultivated in deep meditation is the primary ingredient. The importance of pure bliss consciousness cannot be overemphasized. This may be your "missing link."

A new AYP tantra lesson has just gone up which offers more detail (a real case study) on how the process of tantra can unfold with a partner, with emphasis on developing understanding that can lead to more confidence in self-directed practice. AYP Lesson T46 - Dialog on Tantra Practice 

Wishing you all the best on your path. Practice wisely, and enjoy!

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book.  For detailed instructions on the methods of tantra, see the AYP Tantra book. Also see AYP Plus.

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